Madhya Pradesh High Court

Madhya Pradesh High Court: In a case pertaining to allegations of intimidation directed at the complainant and key witness, a single-judge bench comprising of Anand Pathak, J., issued directions to facilitate an ongoing effort by the Court to promote better coordination and communication within the criminal justice system in the state of Madhya Pradesh.

In the instant matter, the applicant is facing allegations of intimidation towards the complainant/witness, Omprakash Sikarwar. The Court, vide orders dated 25-09-2023 and 18-10-2023, had previously directed the Police and the State Informatics Center (SIC) to collaborate in synchronizing the ICJS (Inter Operable Criminal Justice System) with the “SANDES APP,” created by the Government of India/NIC for Inter Departmental Communication. The synchronization of ICJS and SANDES APP would enable the police authorities to create SANDES GROUPS for crime numbers, especially those related to heinous offenses. These groups would include the Station House Officer (SHO), Police Station, Investigating Officer, Public Prosecutor, Court Munshi, and other material prosecution witnesses/eye-witnesses, as well as the complainant/victim.

This direction to create “WhatsApp Groups” (referred to as SANDES GROUP) was previously issued in the case of Bantu v. State of M.P., MCRC No. 41617/2022, order dated 28-09-2022 and further clarified in the case of Vijendra Singh Sikarwar v. State of M.P., 2023 SCC OnLine MP 3129. The purpose of these groups is to establish connectivity and communication between the complainant/victim and various stakeholders involved in the case, with the goal of minimizing intimidation and threats to prosecution witnesses and ensuring proactive witness protection, in line with the principles laid out in Mahendra Chawla v. Union of India, 2018 SCC Online SC 2678.

Considering the facts and the need for a speedy trial and victim/witness protection, the Court believes that creation of “SANDES GROUP” for every heinous offense is deemed imperative.

The Court issues the following directions:

  1. The Deputy Advocate General for the State is directed to seek instructions from NIC and SIC regarding the synchronization of the “SANDES APP” with ICJS, with the aim of making “SANDES GROUPS” created by the Police Authorities beneficial for communication during the trial, while also becoming part of ICJS and subsequently connected with other relevant systems, such as Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems (CCTN).

  2. The Police Authorities are instructed to address any complaints of witness intimidation made by the complainant through the “SANDES GROUP.”

  3. The Director General of Police, Bhopal, Inspector General of Police, Gwalior Zone, and SSP, District Gwalior, are directed to coordinate and cooperate in the creation of SANDES GROUP.

  4. A copy of this order, along with the previously referred orders, should be sent to NIC, SIC, Director General of Police, Bhopal, Inspector General of Police, Gwalior Zone, and SSP, District Gwalior for information and compliance.

  5. The case is scheduled to be listed again on 21.11.2023.

[Radhe v. State of M.P., 2023 SCC OnLine MP 3955, order dated 30-10-2023]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Shri Mayank Pathak, Counsel for the Applicant

Shri R.S. Kushwaha – Deputy Advocate General and Shri Shiraz Qureshi, Counsel for the Respondent/State

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